2012 programme

Sat 7th 15:30-16:00

Exploring the Big Bang with the Cosmic Microwave Background

David Parkinson


The oldest light in the Universe is the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang itself, the Cosmic Microwave Background. The universe was dense and opaque before the CMB was emitted, so we cannot directly see what went on. By studying the anisotropies, the hot and cold spots distributed across the CMB sky, we can infer the initial conditions and processes that gave rise to the universe as we see it today, and test models such as Cosmological Inflation. Satellite experiments such as COBE, WMAP and the Planck Surveyor have mapped the CMB, and so continue to give us an ever more detailed picture about what went on during the Big Bang.